Installing A Digital Converter Box

I have been looking for ways to save money and decided to cancel my cable services. Please tell me how well the TV converter boxes are working.

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I have 3 flat screen TVs and was wondering how well those converter boxes worked with flat screens and if they are difficult to install. Is the converter box the only component I need to buy? Please share your suggestions.

By Onesummer

August 13, 20090 found this helpful

I have one TV on a converter box and don't get all the stations that it scans in. Supposedly I have 11 channels but only 4 will actually show a picture. The antenna is very sensitive and moving it just an inch or two here or there makes a difference.

If I had it to do all over again I would have done a lot more reading at http://dtv.gov/ before purchasing a converter box and antenna.

There is a YouTube video that shows how to make your own DTV antenna. I haven't done this but apparently people swear by it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw

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August 13, 20090 found this helpful

I have one installed at a cottage where reception is not the greatest! The old analog signals, while grainy, were watchable and I got all four of our local stations. Since the switch to digital, I now get only two. When I contacted the local 'digital questions' hot line, I was told that if you get a good signal, the picture will be great but if your signal is not good enough, the converter won't show it to you. Apparently the converter manufacturers have decided that you get great pictures or nothing. Bummer!

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August 13, 20090 found this helpful

Forgot to mention, I just ran the antenna wire to the converter box and from there to the TV. Very simple to set up and use.

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August 13, 20090 found this helpful

I haven't had cable since Nov. 1995 and while I still miss certain channels I don't miss the monthly cost. You figure that in that amount of time if the average cable or satellite bill is say $60, that's close to $9000. Of course recalculate your monthly bills x 153 months and there's the breakdown.

Anyhow, I got Insignia converters for both my TVs last October and get 15 channels total. Mix in some spanish language and a reading channel and I have 10 channels (two are strictly local weather channels but one does show regular TV programming in a little box sometimes) that I actually watch - my converter allows me to edit out the channels I don't want. I am missing one of the PBS stations as we are still on their analog translater (from Denver to Colorado Springs - KBDI).

I live in Colorado Springs, CO so all our towers are on top of a mountain and our city is closer to the mountains that much of say the Denver Metro area. People who live far distances from major TV markets have problems and some people on the eastern edges of places like the Denver metro area have problems.

Thus far my signal is so much better than with the analog signal so I can still continue to save money. I still have analog TVs but the picture quality is only limited by the screens instead of the analog signal and it's far superior than before.

As for what you need to know, you need to find out if your TV is DTV ready.

Here's the government's website on DTV:

http://www.dtv.gov/

Also check with your local PBS station. Both PBS stations in my market really went over and above to help those switch.

For my TVs I simply took the antenna out of the back of the TV, installed it to the converter and connected the converter to the TV. My main problem has been connecting the DVD player and the stereo with the converter. It's weird how I had it set up and I haven't been patient enough to sit down and hash through it...plus a move and just haven't been watching movies lately. :-)

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August 13, 20090 found this helpful

For duanedv: You posted "I was told that if you get a good signal, the picture will be great but if your signal is not good enough, the converter won't show it to you. Apparently the converter manufacturers have decided that you get great pictures or nothing."

This is untrue.

Having had to deal with problems after the switch even though things were working well prior to the official switch, it is the TV stations signal power that makes the difference. In addition, simple things like buildings, mountains, and such interfere with digital signals.

Here is an okay site to check your location for digital signal strength, what equipment you may need (antenna wise) and what they think those stations will show in terms of how they think the signal will carry:

http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx You only need to provide your zip code, then get as close as possible...it will help you determine what kind of antenna you need.

Good luck on getting better signals.

BTW - I am using the same antennas that I had prior to getting my converters. No special antennas needed and most people don't need super expensive ones.

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August 13, 2009 Flag
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I installed a digital TV converter box on my TV which has a rabbit ears antenna. I do not receive the quality of picture and the quantity of stations I had before installation. I keep getting the message "No Signal". Has anyone else had this problem? If I need a new antenna, does anyone have a recommendation for best reception?

Angelna from Glendale, CA

Answers:

Installing A Digital Converter Box

Keep in mind that most digital channels are broadcast on UHF, so using rabbit ears alone usually won't get you the best reception. We are using a combined VHF/UHF antenna we picked up at Radio Shack for about $16 and are very pleased with the reception (more channels and much better quality that our old cable signal). Thanks and good luck. (07/10/2008)


By Amy

Installing A Digital Converter Box

When we hooked up our converter box, we had the same problem so we called the company (Panasonic). The gentleman we talked to said that because most channels are not broadcast digitally yet, we wouldn't receive them with our box. Once all channels are broadcast digitally, those with the boxes will be able to receive those channels. (07/11/2008)

By TxSavr

Installing A Digital Converter Box

My husband the electronics guru says that this is the best antenna out there to do what you want to do. We use it and it works very well. I am not connected in any way to amazon or the antenna company. I just have a husband who lives and breathes this stuff. It is a Philips Silver Digital antenna PHDTV1.

Susan in Omaha (07/11/2008)

By Susan M.

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